Enterprise development is typically the transfer of a Western model of business to a recipient clientele, regardless of the local culture. Cultural issues need to be considered in the design, delivery and evaluation of development projects, and this research indicates that enterprise development is no exception. Certain basic business principles, such as profit, marketing and cash control, need to be adhered to, but for sustainability, those who plan and implement enterprise promotion programmes must consider these issues in the context of the cultural norms of the community, and adapt the basic principles. This article describing field work in Papua New Guinea (PNG) identifies a number of cultural variations to business practice that rural business people used in the day-to-day operation of their small rural enterprises. In the past these practices were identified as bad business practice, or 'the wrong way to do it'; however, this field research demonstrates that, on the contrary, this may be 'best practice' in the context of a subsistence community.